Roots of Terrorism

He was walking along the street, minding his own business. Out of nowhere, he was attacked, stabbed over and over again with such force that the coroner said the wounds went all the way through his body. His body. Lying there, in a rapidly expanding pool of his own blood. He was dying, and he knew it. He didn’t know why, only that the life was flowing out of him onto the solid, gray concrete of an English street.

You didn’t hear his story. It happened on April 30, in Birmingham, England, not long after evening prayers ended at Green Lane Mosque in Small Heath. Mohammed Saleem Chaudhry, the man lying there waiting for his last breath just yards from his front door, was 75 years old. He made his way around with a walking stick. He never saw his attackers, who stabbed him in the back.

You did hear about the British soldier who was stabbed to death, allegedly by two Muslims in Woolwich, London. You heard about that loudly and often, with the scary word “TERRORIST” attached to every other word said. You maybe even saw the video of one of the suspects who made it clear his actions were jihadist but apologized that any women had to see it.

Lee Rigby was brutally killed in broad daylight on a London Street, apparently by two black, Muslim men who stuck around to make sure they got their terroristic message out.

Mohammed Saleem Chaudhry was brutally killed in the dark, apparently by a white man in what police now believe may have been a racially motivated attack.

At least in the UK it’s a “racially motivated attack.” Here in the good old US of A it’d be a lone wolf with mental issues, which is pretty much what I think of the two nut cases who killed Lee Rigby.

We must find out where the roots of terrorism lie. – Brent Scowcroft

In fact, I’d have to say there’s something wrong upstairs any time someone comes to the conclusion that it’s a good idea to go around killing people. It’s also terrorism. Anytime. Killing. Anyone. Terrorism.

Terrorism is the intent to terrorize, at least that’s what it was before some segments of society decided it could only be perpetrated by Muslims. Killing is terrorism. Threatening to kill is terrorism. In fact, violence of any kind, or the threat of violence of any kind, is terrorism.

Any. Kind. War, for example.

762px-WWII_London_Blitz_East_LondonThis “war on terrorism” (terrorism on terrorism?) isn’t the first time average citizens have been the victims of war, no matter how much we wail and moan about drones. Does Hiroshima ring a bell? The London Blitz? The American Plains? All the plundering, rape and pillaging that went on before the advent of “modern” warfare?

Think about it. To kill another human being, to even want to kill another human being, one must decide that said other human being warrants killing. How would that happen?

Maybe the motivation is hatred. Maybe revenge. Or jealously. Rage. Fear.


Anything could motivate the act. But only one thing makes it possible to pull the trigger, bring down the blade, push the button that launches the missile. Just one.

The killer/terrorist’s belief that he or she is different from that other human being.

On the surface, that probably even looks true. The clothes we wear, the language we speak, the color of our skin, the gender of the people we love, the way we choose to worship (or not) — they’re all different. Like our eye color, our hair color, whether our hair color is natural, which hand is dominant. All different. But not a damn one of those things makes us human. When we choose to see one another as skin color or religion or sexual orientation or nationality or any of those surface variances, we are no longer seeing each other as human.

And that, my friends, is how we all become terrorists.

Photo of East End of London during the Blitz, September 1940, New Times Paris Bureau Collection, PD
KC Wildmoon

KC Wildmoon

KC Wildmoon is an accidental journalist who never even bothered to finish school since her accounting major was incredibly boring. Instead, she opted for being a minor rock star and annoying as many government officials as possible on a regular basis. After 16 years at CNN, she's now doing forensic journalism for Ireland-based Storyful.